Saturday, 11 October 2014

Fingerpicking Workshop Notes

If you've been to my fingerpicking workshop, then here is a video playing through all the examples you'll have on your sheet.



Thursday, 9 October 2014

Blues and Beyond Workshop Notes

If you've attended my Blues and Beyond workshop, here's a little video of me playing through the examples on the worksheet you took away with you.


Monday, 22 September 2014

Helping to launch the Registry of Guitar Tutors new Ukulele grades

Having got hold of the teaching materials for the RGTs new ukulele exams at The Ukulele Festival of Great Britain back in June (which was great news for me as someone who was already teaching guitar to the RGT Acoustic Guitar syllabus), I was really pleased to be asked to lead two seminars at their annual conference at the University of West London yesterday.

It was really good to see so many uke players and uke-curious guitar teachers there, and to meet up with Ben Rouse again who also ran a seminar and gave a brilliant lunchtime concert.

Some people may think 'exams for uke?, that's not what it's all about', but parents of children I teach are always keen for their children to be able to achieve qualifications, and these qualifications are not only the equivalent of any other instrument at the same grade, they are also accredited, which means they can count towards future qualifications/ courses later in a students education. It also helps to show people that the ukulele is as much worthy of serious study as any other instrument, and just as able to be used to deliver a solid, rounded musical education. What most impressed me about the books and syllabus wasn't just the clear, consistent layout or indeed the CD (invaluable when you only see students for say 20 minutes a week), but was the fact that care has been taken to allow students to focus on what ukulele playing means to them. You can of course study melodies and fingerstyle playing, but if what you really want from the ukulele is it's traditional role of song accompaniment, then that route is also available. On top of that, it's possible to enter groups, not just individuals. All in all, it's a syllabus that very much comes from the ukulele players and teachers own experiences.

It was a pleasure to run the seminars, and having a badge labelled 'lecturer' made me feel almost like I had a 'proper job'! I also finally got to meet fellow LogaRhythm endorsee and fabulous percussive guitarist Chris Woods (www.chriswoodsgroove.co.uk). I was also asked to play right at the end of the conference (so we began and ended the day with uke), which was a pleasant surprise, and an honour when you consider that the other two performers were the amazing Dobro player Chris Eaton and top blues guitarist Danny Kyle (www.dannykyle.com). I think I managed to hold my own, and show that the uke can keep up with those guitars!

If anyone is interested in finding out more, please visit www.rgt.org, feel free to get in touch, and if you think you might be interested in learning the uke using the RGT syllabus then that's certainly something I'm able to offer, either in person or via Skype. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

A Grand Northern Ukulele Festival 13th -14th September, 2014

It's not long now until the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival in Huddersfield, featuring The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Del Rey, Andy Eastwood, Zoe Bestel, Tricity Vogue and her All-Girl Swing Band, The Mersey Belles, Krabbers, The Anything Goes Orchestra, The Mother Ukers, Chonkinfeckle, Eek, Vonck and Vlam, Some Like It Ossett and loads and loads of other fabulous players!
I'm really looking forward to it, and as well as performing I'm running two workshops, which are brand new and for GNUF- you won't be able to do these workshops anywhere else until 2015!

Here's a little video where I describe both workshops.



There really is an incredible lineup (the festival fringe lineup is full of names that have graced the main stage at many festival, and is impressive enough on it's own!), plus a huge number of workshop opportunities as well as singalongs, jams and all the usual spontaneous stuff that always happens when you get a big bunch of ukulele players together! Then there are the stalls, the raffle, the festival cider...

It's not too late to get a ticket (but get a move on!) and there are still a small number of places available on lots of workshops. Have a look at
www.northernuke.com

Two Minute Tips #19: The C Major Scale

How to play the C major scale on the ukulele.


This is a great way to start off getting used to playing single note lines on the ukes. Here it is in TAB...

Two Minute Tips: #18 Fingerpicks

I often get asked what I'm wearing on my fingers!


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Two Minute Tip #17: Left Hand Efficiency

It's really important that we take a while to look at how we use our left hand, and make sure that we're not making life difficult for ourselves!